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Woman to receive 300 lashes for having no male escort

By Elliot Meszaros     Mar 4, 2010 in World
A woman has been sentenced to 300 lashings and 18 months jail following a guilty court verdict for filing complaints against court officials and attending court with no male guardian.
The Saudi Arabian woman Sawsan Salim was convicted in a court in Rass last month after petitioning King Abdullah and other officials over what she alleged was years of abuse by local justice officials, the US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) stated.
The petition took place in the kingdom's capital Riyadh and despite calls for an intervention she was charged with filing 118 "spurious complaints" by two local judges. These complaints includes ones made about the judges themselves and as well as these charges she was also accused of "appearing...without a male guardian" for a four year period between 2004 and 2008.
Salim was convicted of these crimes on January 25 after a month long trial. Calls from the HRW to null the verdict were ignored.
She claims that she has been unfairly sentenced following her rejection of local judge Habib Abdullah al Aqsa's frequent urging for her to divorce her jailed husband. After that she claims the judge and other officials frequently gave her a hard time.
Under Saudi Arabia's strict laws women are forbidden to travel anywhere without being accompanied by a male chaperone. HRW claim that they "chided Salim for not being accompanied by a male guardian during her visits to their offices."
Nothing resulted from Salim and her lawyer’s frequent petitioning of top officials over the harassment she had undergone. "She didn't keep things quiet." said Nayda Khalife, a woman's rights researcher from HRW, "She owns a business, and they were making things very difficult for her."
"In Saudi Arabia, being a woman going about her legitimate business without a man's protection is apparently a crime." Khalife said.
More about Lashing, Saudi arabia, Guardian
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